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NEWS 3.17.21: Vaccines and U.K. Variant in Iowa

Siouxland District Health

Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced all Iowans may be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 5th.

Reynolds says she anticipates eligibility will expand as long as the state’s vaccine allocation increases as much as the federal government anticipates.

She says White House officials told her this week that they expect to significantly boost doses starting the week of March 29. This could double the state’s current weekly supply.

“We're starting to see all of them ramp up as well as J and J, which again, the single dose that really is a game changer, and we can really allocate and get that out to some of our mass vaccination clinics where they can turn that around wrap pretty quickly.”

State officials say 31 percent of Iowans 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far. And more than 95 percent of Iowans 65 and older have received at least one dose so far.

The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed 38 additional cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 variant in the state. Seven of the cases were found in Plymouth County.

State officials say it’s critical for people to get the vaccine when one is made available to them since viruses can change over time and variants can sometimes be more contagious. Plus, it remains critical for Iowans to continue mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For more information on vaccine eligibility and to find a provider, visit: https://vaccinate.iowa.gov

Long term care facilities have been some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. But state officials say due to the COVID-19 vaccine, outbreaks have been nearly eliminated. 

As of Wednesday, just one facility in Wapello County is listed as currently experiencing an outbreak.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says no additional positive cases have been reported there in a month.

We anticipate that just days from now, not a single long term care facility will be in outbreak status, something that hasn't occurred since the first outbreaks were reported in early April of last year.”

Reynolds says the federal pharmacy partnership program, which is responsible for vaccinating the staff and residents of the facilities, will be finished by the end of this month.

More than 22 hundred residents of long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19. They account for nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

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